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February 6, 2014 | By Melanie Mason
SACRAMENTO -- The world's most recognizable beagle may soon be spotted on California cars. Assemblywoman Toni Atkins (D-San Diego), along with officials from the Department of Motor Vehicles and other state agencies, publicized a new option for California motorists Thursday: a license plate adorned with a picture of Snoopy, the beloved canine from the "Peanuts" comic strip. Atkins wrote the law last year that allows the California Cultural and Historical Endowment to create a grant program funded by revenue from the license plates that would pay for small capital projects at museums.
December 31, 2013 | By Patrick McGreevy
SACRAMENTO - Tighter gun controls, new rights for immigrants and a measure increasing access to abortion are among many hundreds of California laws that take effect with the new year. Gov. Jerry Brown and the Legislature also restricted the controversial oil-drilling technique known as fracking and allowed transgender students to choose which school restrooms to use and sports teams to join, based on their gender identity. California's willingness to address contentious policy issues, many of which have remained suspended in Washington's partisan divide, comes in the state's new era of one-party rule.
December 24, 2013 | Bob Pool
Leon Rudek loved his newspaper job so much that he constructed a sidewalk in front of his house out of front pages. Pedestrians walking along La Prada Street in Highland Park step back in time as they pass by concrete "editions" of newspapers reporting the news that "Yankees KO Dodgers, Again," or "Argentina Invades Falklands" and "How Carter Saved Summit. " All in screaming headlines. And those who take a closer look may notice that dozens of the front pages cover the bottom of the slope behind his house, and hundreds more serve as roofing shingles on the garage-workshop.
December 17, 2013 | By Steve Dilbeck
A.J. ELLIS , 32, catcher Final 2013 stats: .238 batting average, 10 home runs, 52 RBIs, .318 on-base and .364 slugging percentages, threw out 44.4% of base stealers (28 of 63), the staff ERA when he caught was 3.06. Contract status: In second year of arbitration eligibility. The good: In his second full season as the team's starting catcher, he actually improved behind the plate. He was No. 1 in the majors in throwing out runners and in catchers' ERA. Tied for third on the team in RBIs, despite batting mostly batting sixth and seventh in the lineup.
December 14, 2013 | By S. Irene Virbila
An easygoing Piemontese red from the underappreciated Dolcetto grape, which is sort of the younger cousin of Nebbiolo. Bright and polished, the 2012 Elio Grasso Dolcetto d'Alba tastes like sweet fresh cherries and plums. It's a really pretty wine, with a minerality that gives it depth. Delicious with a salumi and cheese plate, or with crostini topped with chicken livers or beans. I love it with grilled sausages too, and pasta with meat sauce. Region: Piedmont Price: $15 to $19 Style: Bright and polished What it goes with: Salumi, cheese, crostini, grilled sausages, pasta with meat sauce Where to find it: Hi-Time Wine Cellars in Costa Mesa, (949)
December 13, 2013 | Mike Hiserman
Baseball as you knew it is changing. The major leagues, years after Little League did it, are expanding the use of instant replay and giving managers the ability to lodge challenges. And this week, a Major League Baseball rules committee announced plans to institute a rule banning head- or shoulder-first home plate collisions. That's right: No more Pete Rose crashing into Ray Fosse or Buster Posey being bowled over. Sandy Alderson, general manager of the New York Mets and chairman of the rules committee, said baserunners will not be allowed to knock over a catcher for the purpose of dislodging the ball.
December 12, 2013 | By Houston Mitchell
Remember all those time Mike Scioscia blocked the plate when he was with the Dodgers? The time Jack Clark almost knocked him unconscious when barreling over him during a Dodgers-Cardinals game? The time Dave Parker blasted into Steve Yeager (who held onto the ball, by the way)? Remember when Pete Rose ruined the career of Ray Fosse during the 1970 All-Star game? Hold on to those memories, because you won't be seeing many more collisions. Major League Baseball announced on Wednesday that it intends to eliminate home plate collisions by 2015.
November 28, 2013 | By Tiffany Hsu
Christina Rivera hates to see food go to waste, so she is cracking down at her Silver Lake restaurant. Rivera began weighing the trash generated by Gobi Mongolian BBQ House with an eye toward shrinking the pile of scraps, peels and other organic material. She put up signs noting that some 40% of the nation's food supply is thrown out each year. Then she did something that put some patrons into a rage: On busy all-you-can-eat nights, the restaurant now charges an extra fee for any plate with leftover food.
November 26, 2013 | Amina Khan
Ants may seem tiny and weak when they're alone, but together they can form a sort of "super-organism" -- one with superpowers. Researchers at the Georgia Institute of Technology have found that a jumbled crowd of fire ants acts like both an elastic solid and a viscous liquid -- a rare and remarkable property that holds the secrets of self-healing materials. The discovery could one day help scientists design self-repairing bridges and self-assembling modular robots, said co-author David Hu, a mechanical engineer at Georgia Tech, at the American Physical Society's fluid dynamics conference in Pittsburgh.
November 8, 2013 | By Soumya Karlamangla
A New Hampshire man fought in the state's top court Thursday for the right to get a vanity license plate reading  “COPSLIE," prompting a debate about free speech.  The former David Montenegro -- who has officially changed his name to “human,” as he was called in court -- had tried to buy the plate multiple times in 2010 but was rejected by the New Hampshire Department of Motor Vehicles. He sued, lost and appealed to the New Hampshire Supreme Court. The state's regulations say a vanity plate must “not be capable of an obscene interpretation” and “not be ethnically, racially, or which a reasonable person would find offensive to good taste.” The plaintiff, joined by the New Hampshire Civil Liberties Union, argued that “good taste” is too subjective, and therefore allows discriminatory practices in issuing license places.  Anthony Galdieri, an attorney representing the civil liberties union, argued that ambiguity in the regulation allows for arbitrary denials.
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